Party politics

8 September 2012

I did not hit the town to celebrate on the night of 24 March 2011, when Barry O’Farrell swept to power in New South Wales. I imagine many did, however.… Read more

War stories

8 September 2012

The first and only political rally I ever joined in Australia was a large march through Sydney in February 2003. It was against Australia’s impending involvement in the invasion of… Read more

Calling the shots

8 September 2012

On 19 August, film director Tony Scott parked his car on a bridge over Los Angeles harbour, climbed a 12-foot wire fence and jumped to his death without hesitating. He… Read more

Urban grillers

8 September 2012

Remember when anti-Americanism was cool? Ten years ago, the broadsheet press and the ABC had not yet decided it ought to be illegal to make fun of the Prime Minister,… Read more

8 September 2012

Puzzling all the praise heaped on the Gonski report. It contains no new ideas and simply repeats the old discredited fantasy that money will solve all educational problems. The upshot… Read more

A visit from the Big Society

1 September 2012

You would expect Phillip Blond to have nicer things to say about Malcolm Turnbull. The British political guru is most famous for being the house philosopher of David Cameron’s kinder,… Read more

Diary Australia 1 September 2012

1 September 2012

Sydney airport, 6.30 a.m. Having spent the past 22 hours on a plane, we are queueing with our bags to pass through quarantine, and I’m getting irritated. From the corner… Read more

Friendly advice

1 September 2012

In the spirit of Oscar Wilde, who maintained that ‘a true friend stabs you in the front’, may we offer two Liberal lions who happen to be regular readers of… Read more

1 September 2012

After all the effort that many of us have put into making Australia a perfect multicultural society, free from jingoism and stereotyping, I was distressed to see our Prime Minister… Read more

How not to govern

1 September 2012

It is established wisdom in the Press Gallery that the Gillard-Abbott contest has eroded public respect for our political institutions and degraded our national debate to an internationally embarrassing level.… Read more

Diana as I knew her

1 September 2012

It was one of those nights when you wake up the next morning with a distinct feeling that all is not well with the world, yourself included. So you turn… Read more

1 September 2012

Good news from the Territory: Bess Price has won the seat of Stuart. The 16 per cent swing in her favour is one in the eye for all those lefties… Read more


Conduct becoming

25 August 2012

Every so often a programme appears which can be recommended even to people who hate television. Parade’s End (Friday, BBC1) is such a work. The awkward — one might think… Read more

Edinburgh snippets

25 August 2012

I saw a few car crashes at Edinburgh but I’ll mention only one. Hells Bells (Pleasance, Courtyard) by the excellent Lynne Truss is a peculiar experiment. Truss sets her play… Read more


The great wall of Peckham

25 August 2012

The Peckham Peace Wall began life as a window: a long pane of shop glass in the front of Rye Lane’s newly refurbished branch of Poundland. During the riots last… Read more


Working men’s clubs

25 August 2012

Where better to explore the history of the city than at its very heart? Guildhall Art Gallery, nestled between St Paul’s Cathedral and the Bank of England, is currently home… Read more

Four play

25 August 2012
Tête à Tête Riverside Studios

Going to the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith for the annual season of Tête à Tête is a chancy affair, though one can be sure of a very high standard of… Read more

John Bull versus Hiawatha

25 August 2012
Troilus and Cressida|A Midsummer Night’s Dream (As You Like It) Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon|Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

Written soon after Hamlet, Troilus and Cressida is by a long chalk Shakespeare’s most unpleasant play. With a pox-ridden Pandarus and the filthy-minded nihilist Thersites as our guides to one… Read more


Conversation pieces

25 August 2012
Light Structures: Halima Cassell | Francis Bacon to Paula Rego Blackwell: The Arts and Crafts House | Abbot Hall Art Gallery

Anyone interested in art holidaying in the Lake District this summer — or indeed taking a short break in the Lakes — is in for a treat. The Lakeland Arts… Read more

Crime and punishment

25 August 2012

Just a snippet on an edition of Today last spring taken from the programme that had just won an esteemed Sony Gold radio award was enough to create an impact.… Read more


Making Russia great

25 August 2012
Catherine the Great: An Enlightened Empress National Museum of Scotland

Catherine the Great was born neither a Catherine nor with any prospects of greatness. As Sophie Frederica Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst she was a minor German princess with modest expectations, but… Read more


The accidental director

25 August 2012
Jumpy previewing at the Duke of York’s and runs

She’s certainly a class act. But how did she manage it? Nina Raine, the 36-year-old writer-director, has established a formidable position in the British theatre. Her first play, Rabbit, opened… Read more


Sweet Tooth, by Ian McEwan

25 August 2012
Sweet Tooth Ian McEwan

Cape, pp.320, 18.99, ISBN: 9780224097376

‘I’m trying to help you, Serena. You’re not listening. Let me put it another way. In this work the line between what people imagine and what’s actually the case can… Read more

Alexander Fiske-Harrison enjoys a 'story slam' at the Edinburgh Fringe

25 August 2012

The Edinburgh Fringe is a place of youthful hopes, naive dreams and occasional flashes of genuine inspiration. Usually these turn out to be very much flashes in the pan. But… Read more


Caspar David Friedrich, by Johannes Grave

25 August 2012
Caspar David Friedrich Johannes Grave

Prestel, pp.288, 80, ISBN: 9783791346281

In October 1810, the poet and dramatist Heinrich von Kleist substantially rewrote a review submitted to a publication he edited, the Berliner Abendblätter. Indeed, as few editors would dare —… Read more